BELMONT — The end of the streak was within reach until a well-executed in-bound play by River Ridge at the end of regulation dashed Belmont’s hopes to pull out a victory.
Belmont guard Justan Ernst knocked down a basket with 23 seconds remaining to deadlock the score at 54 all, but River Ridge’s Cole Crubel dropped in the game-winner at the buzzer to lift the Timberwolves to a 56-54 win over the Braves in a Six Rivers West boys’ basketball game played at BHS on Friday, Jan. 5.
“We played a heck of a game, but we needed to make a couple of plays down the stretch to make it happen for us,” said Belmont head coach Mitch Austin.
The Timberwolves (6-4 overall, 3-1 SRW) used an early 8-0 run to build up a 12-5 lead, but the Braves (0-9, 0-5) fought back to take a 28-27 lead at the half.
No more than four points separated the two teams in the second half as they matched each other blow by blow. A three-point play by Ernst with 8:57 remaining tied the game at 42 all and then junior guard dropped in back-to-back baskets to put the Braves ahead 46-42 with 7:42 to go.
After the T’Wolves got within a point on a 3-pointer by Brett Moravits, Austin put Belmont back on top by four with a trey of his own with 3:45 to play.
Moravits buried another 3 to bring the Wolves back within three, and then Gavin Steiber followed with an old-fashioned three-point play to put the guests up 54-52 with 2:57 remaining.
The teams traded turnovers down the stretch to keep the game with two. Ernst brought the Braves even with a basket with 23 ticks left on the clock, but that left more than enough time for the T’Wolves to come up with the game-winner to send the Braves to their 32nd straight loss.
River Ridge was the last team to be beaten by Belmont back on March 1, 2016.
“We had possessions in the first half where we should have held onto the basketball a bit longer and not throw up a shot right away. That’s a learning moment we’ll have. I saw a lot of good things from our guys. They played their roles well tonight,” Austin pointed out.
Austin dropped in five treys on his way to a game-high 23 points to lead the Braves. Ernst finished with a career-high 11 points, while junior Luke Kamps chipped in with nine points.
C. Crubel scored 17 points to lead River Ridge. Moravits, Steiber and Ty Bloom netted nine points apiece for the T’Wolves.
At Lancaster, on Monday, Jan. 8, the host Flying Arrows doubled up the Braves in the first half, 44-22, and rolled on to post an 80-37 non-conference victory.
Austin Mumm tallied a game-high 16 points and Nate Timmerman added 14 points to lead Lancaster.
Colin Austin scored 12 points and Brady Wedig chipped in with six points for the Braves.
“It was good for Brady to come back and join us (on Friday). He played some physical and big minutes for us. Our roles will start to expand with Brady back. We can step back into our normal roles and get back where we normally fit,” said Coach Austin.
Next up, Belmont has a non-conference game at Black Hawk on Thursday, Jan. 11, and a SRW game at Cassville on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
River Ridge.…… 27 29 – 56
Belmont………... 28 26 – 54
River Ridge – Bloom 9, Moravits 9, B. Crubel 3, Mumm 2, Clark 2, Redman 5, C. Crubel 17, Steiber 9. Totals – 23 3-6 56.
Belmont – Justan Ernst 11, Ethan James 3, Jacob Amenda 4, Colin Austin 23, Connor Wiegel 1, Luke Kamps 9, Brady Wedig 3. Totals – 17 13-18 54.
3-point goals– RR 7 (Bloom 1, Moravits 2, Redman 1, C. Crubel 3), B 7 (Ernst 1, Austin 5, Kamps 1). Total fouls– RR 17, B 13. Fouled out– None.
Belmont……….... 22 15 – 37
Lancaster.……… 44 36 – 80
Belmont – Justan Ernst 4, Ethan James 5, Jacob Amenda 5, Colin Austin 12, Kolton Westemeier 2, Luke Kamps 3, Brady Wedig 6. Totals – 14 4-7 37.
Lancaster – Bowen 5, Knapp 7, Gates 7, Mumm 16, Farrey 3, Straka 8, Reuter 8, Schmitz 5, Timmerman 14, Gallinger 5, Hugill 2. Totals – 37 7-12 80.
3-point goals– B 5 (James 1, Amenda 1, Austin 2, Kamps 1), L 5 (Knapp 2, Mumm 1, Farrey 1, Schmitz 1). Total fouls– B 11, L 9. Fouled out– None.